You go into this film wanting to see a bunch of attractive people in swimwear. You leave unsure of whether it was worth it. You get what you came for, but you also get more. More is not necessarily better when it takes away from the very basic desire you wanted when you watch a film like this. For me, I liked having a somewhat deep plot, even if it meant exposition and too many shots taking place on land.
The first thing I noticed was how long these characters could hold their breath for. They have to, at least at the beginning, as they don’t have the money for the equipment necessary to carry oxygen into the depths of the ocean. Our two leads are a couple, Jared and Sam (Paul Walker and Jessica Alba), who live on an island and hope to be treasure hunters someday. Sam works at the local aquarium, dealing with sharks, while Jared tries to fix their boat. That’s about all he does, which leads the somewhat creepy, yet generally friendly Bates (Josh Brolin) to taunt him.
The pair have friends coming, although the “why” behind the visit is overlooked. Bryce (Scott Caan) and his girlfriend-of-one-night, Amanda (Ashley Scott) show up and they go snorkeling. Apparently, responsibilities like Sam’s job can be forgotten about if you have friends coming to stay for a few days. Or weeks. Or months. I’m not sure what the time-frame is for this film, but it seemed like it took place over a long, long time. Maybe that’s just because of how frequently we go below the horizon line into the ocean, where you can’t tell whether it’s night or day on the surface thanks to the bright lights that always seem to be shining. And since the characters can spend as long as they want down there, unless the plot calls for them to have to breathe, time can pass as slowly or as quickly as the film wants.
Every time people go into the ocean, they find something. It makes me wonder if Jared or Sam ever actually looked for treasure before the film began. Not that it matters, but I’m unsure of why they find such important things so easily, without any equipment, when we’re told that dozens of other ships (that are well-financed) are out there looking as well. Regardless, they find millions of dollars worth of cocaine, while also finding some treasure also worth millions of dollars. See how lucky these people are?
You’re probably asking what they do with these two finds. Not much. They leave the cocaine, because taking it would be illegal and the Jared/Sam pairing wants nothing to do with that. Bryce and Amanda are the ones wanting to take at least one bag of the white powder, but they’re the guests so they don’t get their way. There’s an argument that takes place here, and there are other debates throughout, which are actually quite refreshing. Characters can have their minds changed, and they all bring reasoning to their points of view.
As for the treasure, it’s stowed away for a while. Why do the characters not sell it and take some time off? Well, I’m not sure. There’s more treasure, I guess, so they want to find it as well. But wouldn’t selling the earlier find be a good idea so that they could actually purchase the equipment required to bring the rest up to their ship? I’m not sure. Money becomes one of the main topics of conversation as the film progresses, even though I thought that it would have been pretty easy to get the money they needed.
Things don’t go as planned for most of the time. However, the problems that arise are not foreshadowed earlier, and instead pop up whenever director John Stockwell wants to throw them in. For example, we’re told earlier that sharks don’t attack people very often, and when they do, it’s because you’re bleeding or you provoke them. Of course, you know that a shark attack will happen later in the film. There end up being a few, but the first one does not meet any of the requirements listed earlier. It just swims up out of nowhere and attacks someone for no reason. There are more times when situations like this (although not necessarily involving a shark) occur, and they show up mostly just to move the plot along.
This eventually leads to a life-or-death situation involving drug dealers. Yes, they also come out of nowhere, but at least the cocaine was a tip-off to them. Still, some of the later twists were not hinted at, leaving us wondering what motivation there was for the characters. Not that there’s much “character” to speak of, because the personalities don’t have much depth and the actors don’t seem to have a clue who they’re supposed to be portraying, but since they all look good in their swimsuits, this doesn’t matter.
The best shots of Into the Blue are the underwater ones. Whether it was shot in an ocean or not doesn’t matter because it’s always convincing. There is a lot of wildlife as well which looked real, and there wasn’t a moment in the film where I didn’t believe that the location wasn’t real. In a film where the scenery is the highlight, this is a must, and I was glad that nothing took me out of the environment.
Into the Blue isn’t a great film by any stretch, but if all you want to do is look at eye-pleasing movie stars in bikinis and shorts for a couple of hours, you won’t be disappointed. The plot is slightly complex, although most of the complexity seems to be made up on the spot where problems arise seemingly out of nowhere. The characters are also weak, but the shots underwater — and some of them above it — still make it a somewhat enjoyable time.